Financial Times: Why it can be cruel to be kind in the workplace
Originally found at Financial Times, by Andrew Hill
Alongside the predictable specifications for a job vacancy at the Financial Times—problem-solving, tenacity, and so on—is one I haven’t seen before. The ideal candidate must “exude kindness”.
As a rule, I would say that if you are actually sweating a quality, you are probably trying too hard. Nobody thinks “he oozes niceness” is a compliment. The requirement does, however, raise an interesting question: at work, how much kindness is enough, and how much is too much?
What is more, research confirms workplace warmheartedness has wider benefits. A University of California study at Coca-Cola’s Madrid site showed workers who benefited from small acts of kindness amplified their own positive behaviour — “paying it forward” — while givers and receivers felt a greater sense of autonomy, and were happier all around.
Another study in the Academy of Management Journal highlighted the importance of “companionate love” in the male-dominated world of firefighting. When combined with a culture of “joviality”, acts of kindness — such as raising money to help a financially troubled colleague hang on to his house — moderated risk-taking and reduced health problems triggered by the strain of balancing work and family.
Continue reading original article at Financial Times.
Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal
Learn more about the AOM Scholars and explore their work:
- Olivia Amanda O’Neill, George Mason University
- Nancy P. Rothbard, University of Pennsylvania